Western Regional Climate Legislation

California Capitol Building
California Capitol Building
© 2005 David Monniaux

As California and the Western US develop their own global warming programs, carbon offsets, and the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in particularly, have been proposed as a cost-containment mechanism for industries transitioning into cleaner technologies. International Rivers works with local state partners like the Western Climate Advocates Network to warn against the impacts and abuses of the CDM, and to promote solutions that benefit local communities rather than rewarding polluters.

Western Climate Initiative

Carbon offsets play a central role in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a carbon Cap-and-Trade scheme first introduced in July 2008, that includes seven U.S. states (Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec). It recommends that 49 percent of an individual entity's or facility's compliance obligation (the number of permits they must use to cover their emissions) to come from offsets. Should these offsets come from the CDM, the majority would be non-additional and would thus compromise its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

California's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32)

The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is an environmental law in California that was signed into law by the Governor of California on September 27, 2006. The bill establishes a timetable to bring California into near compliance with the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. The law requires that by 2020, the state's greenhouse gas emissions fall to 1990 levels, a roughly 25 percent reduction under business as usual estimates. The California Air Resources Board, under the California Environmental Protection Agency, is responsible for leading the charge in achieving its objectives.